Strange Hubabaloo in Phoenix

I have not had time to research this completely, I hope to get to it after work.

Here is the front page of The Phoenix New TImes, owned by the Village Voice. It seems they have been investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He is the guy who runs “the toughest prison in America.”

He is up for reelection this year and the paper has been snooping around the real estate records asking how a guy making 72K a year can buy so much land.

So they had a grand jury subpoena all the newspapers records, notes, records of who read the stories on line. And stuff.

The press went ape shit and the county has backed down.

Darn strange doings.

My father lived in Phoenix and Scottsdale for 20 years, I spent about a year and a half there in the early 80’s and worked for Maricopa county. Graft and corruption have been the norm for years. My dad used to say that it was a 20th century community, operating under 18th century rules.
Arpaio reflects the old adage, " Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". Let’s hope he’s gotten too big for his britches this time. If the times story has merit, I think he may have. If the news services pick this up it should be the beginning of the end for Arpaio.

Strange? Not really. I find it’s more logical to assume that any given law enforcement officer is on the take, until proven otherwise.

ETA: Especially in Phoenix, which is where virtually all of Arizona’s drugs come from.

I dunno about a drug connection, fetus, but there are other sources that Sheriff Joke could have gotten the money from. To name two, the jail offers gedunk to inmates at highly inflated prices. The profits from that and his famed pink underwear sales both have disappeared without a trace. On a salary of $70-something a year (I’ve seen 72- to 78-thousand), Arpaio has managed to acquire a commercial property for about a million in cash. There may be others which is what the New Times was trying to dig out since 2004.

Arpaio had not only his residential address, but also all other property addresses redacted, so it’s been tough to demonstrate, one way or the other. The New Times then got his residential address from government sources on the web¹ (which is illegal if they were to be redacted–a felony) and printed it in their tree-edition (which is still legal). Arpaio and Maricopa county attorney Andrew Thomas have been trying to nail NT for this transgression since then, and when the county attorney for Pinal county declined to take action, Thomas hired Dennis Wilenchik, Thomas’ ex-boss from before he (Thomas) was elected, to be a “special prosecutor” at a cost to the taxpayers of a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Thursday morning, NT hit the stands with a story on the cover about the grand jury investigation of the paper. The prosecutor (Wilenchik) sopoenaed “all documents related to articles and other content published by Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times website, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from January 1, 2004 to the present” plus the notes, tapes, and records from all the reporters on every story about the sheriff, plus detailed information on anyone who has looked at the NT website since 2004 including websites they had visited before coming to the NT site.

Releasing grand jury information is a misdemeanor, and I suppose it still is even if you’re the one being investigated. Thursday evening the two top executives for New Times, Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin, were arrested by county deputies and spent the night in jail. They were released early yesterday morning, and yesterday evening, Thomas held a news conference stating that the charges against the two were dropped, and that Wilenchik’s role was being “reconsidered.”

That’s where it stands at the moment. You can find New Times website here for more information (Be careful – eyes may be watching) If you’ve the stomach for reading more about Nickelbag Joe, you can go to (Hint: It’s not his re-election site).

¹Still can, in fact. I went to the Maricopa County Recorders site and found Arpaio’s home address twice in three minutes of looking.

DesertDog, Are you sure you found Arpaio’s current address on the recorder’s site? I looked and only found his old Scottsdale address. He currently lives in Fountain Hills, and I couldn’t find any documents with his FH address.

In Colorado, law enforcement officers can request that their property address not be abvailable over the net.

You are right. The addresses in the file are the Scottsdale address. I’d forgotten he had moved to Fountain Hills, and the dates on the Scottsdale address were in 1994, after his first election, so I made an assumption.

No biggie, a link to his FH address is listed in an article on AZ Central this evening, So much for keeping that secret anymore…